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Senior fitness trainer exemplifies benefits of working in retirement

February 15, 2013

Social and mental engagement help seniors enjoy healthy aging, and many older adults have chosen to do this by staying active in the workforce. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that around 35.8 percent of men between 65 and 69 are still in the workforce, while 26.4 percent of women in the same age group are working. One older adult has taken working in retirement to an especially healthy level. John David, 73, works as a fitness instructor in New York City, helping other adults his age follow a healthy lifestyle for seniors, reports NPR.

David's quest to help other people stay healthy didn't start until he was at an age when most people are looking forward to moving to retirement communities. A long-time Los Angeles resident, he worked for many years in the television industry before deciding to become certified as a trainer at 50. After many years of volunteering, David now works at a number of facilities throughout the city as well as with some private clients. He feels that it's necessary to have an older trainer help seniors stay healthy because he understands their lifestyle.

"I take it from my own experience," he told NPR. "The things that you need at my age ... are entirely different than what you need when you're 35."

David's choice for a second career is indicative not only of the desires of older adults to stay active as they age, but also of the fact that many of them want to make a difference as they do so. Sometimes referred to as an encore career, a growing number of adults are looking to start down a path toward a second career that has an impact on society in a positive manner. In fact, a poll from Civic Ventures found that as many as 9 million adults between 44 and 70 are already in an encore career. 

Aside from adding a sense of fulfillment, encore careers may also be good for senior healthy, some experts say. In fact, a 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland found that people who worked in retirement, whether part-time, full-time or self-employment experienced fewer diseases and lower levels of disability than those who fully retired.